Moonlyght - Progressive Darkness review
02. The Sceptic Traveller
03. Ride On Ice Storms
04. A Tale From A Fantastic Kingdom
05. The Autumn's Freezing Harmony
06. From Honour To Nothingness
07. Progressive Darkness
The Canadian province of Quebec is the land of several excellent Death Metal bands such as Cryptopsy and Kataklysm. Now you can extend that list to another pearl, Moonlyght. But unlike the aforementioned bands, the musicians from Moonlyght play a complex progressive mix of Melodic Death, Black, Folk, Gothic even Power Metal with a large symphonic component, which so far was why a band like Vintersorg topped lots of other bands. Moonlyght is another serious challenger to doing that and the well-entitled debut-album "Progressive Darkness" [released in 2002] is there to prove me right.
The band itself is Roby [vocals, guitars], Vince [guitars], Thierry [keyboards, background vocals], Davey [bass guitar] and Guillaume [drums and percussions] but additional musicians joined Moonlyght to record this album Jessica [female vocals], Patrick [violin] and Marc [accordion]. Quebec is well-known as French Canada since most of the inhabitants speak French, however, the band used English lyrics only [but two lines in French in 'From Honour To Nothingness'].
The production is really good, the band can congratulate Philippe Poissant for his work and the Sonum Studio. The result is an audacious and extraordinary musical gem that is going to stay on top of my CD pile for a while. The artwork is in the whole very dark and include complete information such as the lyrics and members pictures. The front cover is a nice piece of design but the one on the CD itself is even nicer, the moon slightly reflecting the solar light on one side and also revealing the name of the band.
First one has to say that this is their debut-album but it doesn't sound like it. I mean, few bands can come up with such an album as their debut-album and that's a sign that this band is extraordinary talented.
"Progressive Darkness" is a collection of 7 epic songs [6 of them over 7 minutes, the last one reaching almost 12 minutes], each one is a precious part of the whole. The opening track, 'Fantasy', already set the level very high with magnificent vocals, widely varied from Gothic clean to Black screams and Death growls not to forget the beautiful female voice. This song is a progressive Death/Black mix and successively reminiscent of Ancient Rites, Dark Tranquillity, Opeth, Vintersorg and Cradle Of Filth.
Track number 2, 'The Sceptic Traveller', is exploring other musical directions in the process, from Finnish Power Death Metal influences in the beginning to Symphony X for the acoustic guitar parts. No doubt about it, Moonlyght has such a peculiar sound that I have to try to connect with some of my references to try to picture it out. That means that I'm already totally fond of their music!
'Ride On Ice Storms' sounds more epic Power Death Metal oriented [in the beginning], splendid guitars and keys juxtaposition transform this song into a very nicely structured composition. Then after 3 and a half minutes, the progressive side of Moonlyght enters the scene once again to morph into the splendid delirium-like part of the song. In my opinion, that second part of the song is one of the highlights of "Progressive Darkness".
'A Tale From A Fantastic Kingdom' has clear ties to Power Black Metal [even the title] and I must say that it's also a mind-blowing piece of music. Just listen to these piano lines merging with the other instruments after 3 minutes or so; that's all you need to fall in love with this song.
The following song, 'The Autumn's Freezing Harmony', is without a doubt the best track on "Progressive Darkness". Every peculiar sound of their music is in there. They even add another touch of interest with some accordion and the result is terrific. The bridge with both piano and violin carries the right amount of sadness to the song while the accordion lines totally rock on top of the guitars. I have to say that I seldom heard music like that before. Maybe Opeth are the only ones who can come up with something close, that should tell you about the level of composition shown on that song.
After such a song, 'From Honour To Nothingness' feeds that melodic twister once again with a rather key oriented composition not without reminding me of good old Eternal Tears Of Sorrow. Put these guys on stage and that has to be a sellout or else all hope for Metal is lost.
The last and eponymous track is - no surprise - once again a splendid and epic Melodic Death anthem featuring more female vocals, more piano while Melodic Death still reigns. The perfect closing track, it had to be that way to conclude an album that is going to stick in the back of your mind and grip it tight for a long time.
Moonlyght's art of writing and playing varied and inspired melodies is one of their forces. I still don't understand how it's possible to come up with such beautiful melodies but that's why I'm absolutely imploring you to check these guys out! Moonlyght has it all to surge as one of the revelations of this year, they just need more support and publicity to become as famous as Opeth, because talent and music are already there! As Roby himself wrote, "We will paint your heart with the ice of the moonlight" [from the lyrics of 'Ride On Ice Storms'], I certainly hope so! And be ready for the next album already in preparation, I can't wait to have a listen to that one. But for right now, Rush to www.moonlyght.ca and act to support this talented band. You won't regret it.
Written on 28.02.2004 by
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